In the global space, the impact of Covid-19 has left a significant dent in the economy and in social life. Technology has, however, played a key role in keeping businesses and families functional at a time of lockdown and quarantine. Internet access has helped a lot of brands reach out to their customers when they haven’t been able to provide services. For example, McDonalds encouraged people to make their own versions of McMuffins during lockdown while restaurants were closed. For iGaming operators, there has had to have been more advice and guidance provided online on safe gambling and on addressing the issue of problem gambling, especially while gamblers have been isolated at home more.
Even as lockdown measures begin to ease in the UK, most businesses are still operating remotely. What is likely to happen post-lockdown is that most of the modern-day online communication trends being used now will likely stick around. Here are just some key trends that have been popular to help people stay connected this year.
- Video Conferencing
Video conferencing is one of the trends that is probably likely to still have a lot of traction post-COVID-19. As people were stuck indoors more during the lockdown, platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams were great solutions for connecting with family members, friends, customers, employees, and workers. Conferencing platforms have become central to everyday communication, particularly because they are cost-effective and make personal and professional meetings convenient. Lockdowns around the world have forced people to gather online when they haven’t been able to meet face-to-face. It’s easy to see how this trend is likely to stick after the pandemic.
With the sudden shift away from the usual classroom set up in the UK and many other parts of the world, online learning has become a common trend, one that is expected to be adopted after lockdown ends properly. Language apps, virtual tutoring, and online learning software are currently being used widely in response to learning demands. While the model was rapid and unplanned, it has seen major positive results in the education sector. Online learning has changed the mode of teaching, sharing of documents, and improved the efficiency of reaching out to students and tutors. The move to online learning is believed to be a catalyst for the creation of a new and effective mode of teaching students.
- Virtual Dates
While video calls have been very popular for business, it has also been popular for connecting friends and new acquaintances too. Dating can be tough in the best of times but add social distancing to it and it’s a whole other problem. Surprisingly, dating has thrived in the face of the pandemic, with single individuals making the most out of dating apps and video calls. Video call software, whether through FaceTime or Zoom, has helped singles connect and have dates together without having to meet in person. Some have had fun chatty dates, movie dates, or have even been cooking their favorite recipes and food for a virtual date while being in lockdown at home. After lockdown measures have eased, virtual dates could still be a popular solution for many if they work long shifts or can’t organize a time to see each other in person.
- Netflix Watch parties
During the early phases of lockdown, it was impossible to hold in-person hangouts. However, an internet browser extension made it possible for friends to come together virtually and enjoy a good movie. Netflix Party is a Google Chrome extension that has been around a while and was designed to allow friends and family to watch a TV show or a movie together in real-time. The extension gained renewed attention due to the pandemic and could be a feature that many will still use post-lockdown to enjoy movie nights with their friends.
- Contactless Payments
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, many countries like the UK and others have been focusing more on contactless payment methods. Methods such as contactless debit cards or paying via a mobile device have been popular as they reduce the amount of contact a person has with a cashier. Contactless payments have been popular for a few years now as it is a fast and efficient way to pay for goods. We were already gradually heading towards a cashless society pre-COVID, so it’s almost certain that these types of payments will continue in the future.
The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated that digital readiness is important, particularly for the normalcy of business operations and communicating with each other. These modern-day online communication technologies are far from reaching their full potential. It goes to say a lot about the changes to come after the pandemic and how the trends will continue into 2021 and beyond.
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